Memo to Dominic Raab

There are plenty of channel and North Sea ports allowing easy passage of goods from the continent to the UK. The Dutch and Belgian ports would love to lift more of the Calais-Dover trade. Calais has made quite clear it wants to keep the trade. No need to worry. There will be plenty of imports coming in on 30 March after we have left. Remember, the UK government will decide what checks to have at Dover! No need to delay them. They mainly come in already inspected, checked and logged electronically away from the border.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    It seems that big business is beginning to turn the fear screws on again. Importing will, should we actually leave the EU, be a UK competence. Only exports could be a problem and, it does not matter if it is Calais or Rotterdam it is still an EU port and subject to EU rules.

    Things such as: Initiatives to simplify procedures in ports.

  2. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Direct quote from Dominic Raab in the Independent:

    “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing”

    Deliberate misinterpretation of that in the headline to the article:

    “Brexit secretary Dominic Raab says he ‘hadn’t quite understood’ importance of EU trade to UK economy”

    And in the sub-heading as well:

    “‘Shocking’ comment seen as proof that ‘the Brexiteers hadn’t really thought through any of the impacts of leaving the EU'”

    Remoaners have zero integrity, any lie will do if it might advance their vile cause.

    • Hope
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Dennis, I don’t share you interpretation of the quote meaning.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        Dominic Raab was talking about the extent to which our goods trade with the EU passes through that particular route rather than other routes, not about the overall economic importance of our goods trade with the EU.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          It was a howler, Denis. No doubt about it.

          • Hope
            Posted November 9, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            This has brought an end to Raabs career prospects not enhanced them. Complete idiot.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted November 10, 2018 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

            No want he said was not unreasonable at all. Perhaps a bit foolish given the way all is now distorted and lied about.

  3. Nig l
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    And this is the man who is leading our negotiations. Piss ups and breweries spring to mind.

    • Bellboy
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      He went across to Ireland last week to see if he could see the invisible border?

  4. Iain Gill
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    he mixes up JIT (just in time) component supply chain with perishable good transport. both complex for different reasons. keeping the 2nd going does not guarantee the 1st. disappointed at the quality of politician we have yet again, as a raw grad a few weeks in would be expected to have a better handle than this.

    really this country should have sorted this stuff out ages ago, the PPE virtue signalling pro EU nutters in positions of power should have been swept away.

  5. Peter
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    There is so much printed about alleged Brexit developments. Difficult to know what to believe. May wants to keep legal advice secret, apparently. So much for transparency. Perhaps she wants to push through a vague agreement where surrender is carefully disguised until it is too late to challenge.

    Rejecting the withdrawal agreement is the one thing sensible politicians need to do. Concentrate on that.

    There will inevitably be continued calls to defenestrate May. That can wait until later.

  6. hans christian ivers
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    the problem is we are not ready if we do not have a free trade deal with the EU, but why should we not get one

    • Andy
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      We have a free trade deal with the EU. Margaret Thatcher’s single market. It is the brand new Aston Martin convertible of trade deals.

      But you lot do not like it and want to trade it in. Enjoy the Nigel Farage second hand Reliant Robin you’ve swapped it for.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

        Actually Andy it is not a free trade deal.
        It costs the UK many billions in fees and charges every year.
        Overall the net trading cost is around 80 billion loss to the UK.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink


        Total drivel, It is not a FTA, its a mercantile paid for customs union

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Margaret Thatcher realised what a mistake it was and got kicked out of office for realising it.

        Then came Maastricht.

        You thought she went because of the Poll Tax ???

    • L Jones
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      ”We”? Perhaps a bit of punctuation might render your posts a little more comprehensible, Hans. Or perhaps you are writing English as your second language. If so, you’re not doing too badly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      The EU claims that it cannot conclude a trade agreement with the UK until after we have left and become a third country, and as usual Theresa May lamely accepted the that interpretation of EU law without any question. Not even to suggest that if EU law does say that then EU law is an ass.

      • Hope
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        That does not stop everything being agreed by the 29/3/2019 and coming into force the day after.

        • Hope
          Posted November 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          The transition was meant for the purpose of implementing the trade deal. It is clear this is no longer the case. It is a punishment extension where it is hoped a trade deal will be negotiated, of course there is no reason to do so because of the backstop and backstop to backstop. A cunning plan to keep the UK in the EU as a vassal state to change our minds.

          I am genuinely shocked at the incompetence of Davis and leavers for even entertaining its inclusion, it was a clear deceit from the outset.

  7. Steve P
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just EU imports that currently come in already inspected, checked, and logged – China and many others do too. Importers send their own inspectors and even have them in China full-time and putting seals on the containers before they leave. Seen it with my own eyes after living and working in Shenzhen China for more than 3 years – one of them a French company that specialises in inspections for EU importers. It amazes me how the EU see such difficulty with the Irish border but they do it from China everyday.

  8. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Yes absolutely shocking that Mr Raab admitted he was surprised how close France is physically to the UK, and how busy the Dover Calais route is.
    Clearly he is living in a different World to the rest of us with this lack of knowledge, and he is supposed to be one of the key figures in our future !

    Difficult to make it up, only in the UK would such a person be in a position of power and influence, and admit at the same time he is so out of touch on the MIDDAY TV NEWS.

    I despair, given he is a Minister in charge of Brexit, I do wonder how much General Knowledge do some of our MP’s have.

    I of course exclude our host, but wonder why he has been excluded from Government given his experience.
    Perhaps they are scared he will show them all up as complete incompetents.

    • Cloud
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Why do we put up with this?

    • old salt
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Alan Jutson
      Couldn’t have put it better myself.

  9. Richard1
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I had thought Dominic Raab was one of the more intelligent and articulate advocates of Brexit, but this is really not very encouraging. Is he saying he thinks the EU has us over a barrel due to the importance of the Dover-Calais route, and therefore we need to just cave in and agree BRINO? If that’s where Brexiteer ministers think we’ve got to I suppose we better have another referendum as it’s clear May’s Brino is worse than remain. If on the other hand he didn’t mean what it looks like he said I suggest Brexit supporting Conservatives, ministers included, get together quickly and agree a coherent and consistent line.

    • Andy
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      “I had thought Dominic Raab was one of the more intelligent and articulate advocates of Brexit.”

      He is. And that sums up your problem. With few exceptions, even the best Brexit intellects are really rather dim.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        There is no academic study showing brexit supporters are less able than Remainers.
        Unless Andy you can show us one.
        Can you?

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        You might think that, Andy but you don’t manipulate people by telling them so.

        Alas the insults predated and caused the referendum. Not very clever.

        Now take a break from it and ask your Mum to bring you down a nice coffee.

    • Len Grinds
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Richard, at last you are getting there! The land of milk and honey promised you by John Redwood does not and never will exist. May’s BRINO is the best you will get – follow the EU rules but have no say. So why leave at all?

      • Edward2
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        No one promised a land of milk and honey.
        We voted in spite of a huge wave of propaganda from the establishment to leave the EU.
        To become, once more, a free independent nation.
        Remainers are trying to frustrate that wish.
        It will not work.

  10. acorn
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I assume that a Conservative government will do away with the EU Working Time Directive, post Brexit. My question is, will the government also do away with the EU Driving Hours Directive, that goes with EU wide mandatory electronic Tachographs, currently built into each UK HGV; and, will still be required, post Brexit, by UK trucks inside the EU.

    I mention this because driving a wagon from south west EU to Amsterdam instead of Calais, can put drivers over the Tacho limit. Naturally, I expect the ERG62 have a “Blue Peter” level solution for this already.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 4:19 am | Permalink

      Oh no Apeaser May want to “build on EU workers rights” and increase the regulation of absolutely everything. This to make us all poorer, destroy jobs, reduce pay and make us less competitive. Doubtless we will have fines if truck companies do not have enough female or minority group truck drivers soon too. Any self employed drivers will be further mugged by Hammond too.

    • David Price
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      The ERG is not the government. The civil service and the politicians in government are the government and it is clear the are not “implementing what we decided” as promised. The ERG are doing their job which is to hold the government to account.

      Why would an HGV driver have to avoid Calais when going to Dover?

      What would French businesses say if they start losing export business to the northern states because their government puts unnecessary obstacles in their path in addition to all the burning sheep and tyres?

    • libertarian
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink


      Why on what evidence do you assume that?

  11. ian
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    His political career looks like it going to be cut short, you could say, over before it started.

  12. Dominic
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    John, do all these other ports have a tunnel allowing unhindered traffic flows from our island to the continent? If not, they are not realistic alternatives

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 4:28 am | Permalink

      Of course these routes are realistic alternatives just a bit slower and more expensive sometimes. But the tunnel company, Dover and Calais are hardly going to want to loose the business anyway are they! Nor will the 27 want their exports to be harmed.

      Perhaps the socialist dope and total electoral liability Macron might do a bit of pathetic grandstanding and put a bit of grit in the machine but far better that than a May’s appalling proposed surrender, with Brexit in name only with a huge bill too.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        It’s ‘lose’, Lifelogic. LOSE.

        I’m a stickler when fellow Brexit voters get this one wrong.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink


      Really? I guess you are unaware that most of our exports are in containers and tankers, neither of which use the tunnel

      All those other ports are not only alternatives they are already massively bigger than both Dover RoRo and the tunnel. The channel tunnel freight shuttle can only handle 32 trucks at a crossing !

  13. ian
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    What a mug, it was only last i said he make a leader of the country.

  14. acorn
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    You have to wonder if there will be anything left in London that will not be owned by foreigners. Naturally, our Laissez-faire, Neo-liberal Conservative government, doesn’t give a toss who owns it, as long as it and its spiv city sponsors, profit from trading it.

    “Billionaire American Families Seek Profit From Brexit Chaos” (Bloomberg)

    The following are worth a read also, same source. “The Brexit Deal Is 300 Pages Long And It’s Not Finished Yet”. Also for JR and us market punters, ” Moving Swaps Out of London in No-Deal Brexit Just Got Easier” 😉

    • Edward2
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      You say you want free trade acorn, yet when it comes to free world trade you get all protective of the UK.
      You forget how much the UK invests in companies outside the UK.

      • acorn
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Sorry, are you confusing me with somebody else?

        • Edward2
          Posted November 9, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          You complained about foreigners owning property and businesses in the UK
          I said the UK has large investments all over the world in other countries property and businesses.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      Well as May’s socialist government renders industry uncompetitive with high taxes, daft regulations, bloated government, endless waste and government inefficieny, expensive energy, poor roads …… then we will clearly tend to run a trade deficit. Thus selling off Chelsea, certain businesses and Knightsbridge is clearly needed to balance things out.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink


      Lol that tops your French are South Koreans post

      You want free movement of people, you want open markets but you dont want foreigners buying businesses or property.

      Go back into retirement old boy

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Indeed this alarmism from the BBC and all the usual suspects is totally absurd. But May and Hammond are the pathetic dim puppets of their bureaucrats she and he have to go. Corbyn SNP is a far greater risk that Brexit to the UK.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      Brexit if done properly will be a huge boost to the economy rendering us competitive. But only if note done in the “worse of all worlds” way that the socialist fool May is trying to ram through.

  16. Edward2
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Calais is just one port of over twenty available to us.
    There is a remainer fixation about Calais.
    It takes a fair bit of lorry traffic but the Channel Tunnel is there as an alternative if the EU play up.
    And far more goods come in via Hull and Felixstowe.
    Many European jobs are at stake if the unelected EU Commission tries to close down trade.
    Interesting political times.
    Especially now Merkel has no real power.

    • acorn
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      I suggest you educate yourself on how the EU commission gets adopted by the EU parliament. It’s much more rigorous than anything the UK parliament does
      http ://

      • Edward2
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Your attempt to try to prove that a group of politicians who make up the Commission of the EU are democratically elected by giving me a link to the EU version of Pravda does not impress me.
        Most have been rejected in elections back in their home nation.
        They are appointees.
        Not one vote from any UK or European person.
        Not one.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink


        Selmyr , you’re welcome

  17. Andy
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile (in the real world) the government is spending a fortune turning the M20 into a lorry park because of your Brexit. How many of you voted for this? All of you it turns out.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      It may be needed in the short term if the unelected EU Commissioners try to play up.
      But you may see European small business owners rising up and demanding free trade.
      That’s what you really want isn’t it Andy?

    • Steve
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Does that piss you off ? Excellent !

    • libertarian
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink


      As you’ve never been to Kent you wouldn’t know that the M20 has been a lorry park for 20 years .

      This week both the M20 and M2 were partially closed as was the major link road between the two. Its been like that for years

      I broadcast a radio and TV programme about it 4 years ago

  18. James Snell
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes but what about the exports that will need to be checked at continental ports?

    • libertarian
      Posted November 11, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      James Snell

      What exports are checked at ports? Which ports exactly?

  19. dannny7
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Almost every day, you write simple common sense. Every day the clowns in the government and civil service keep mucking things up. Are they stupid or wilfully negligent? The mantra I use in business is KISS: keep it simple.

    Are you and the other grown ups in the party ever going to take back control?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 4:45 am | Permalink

      Alas there are only about 100 MPs on the “grown up” or sound wing of the party. Look at the appalling Tory PMs these Tory MPs they have given us: The ERM disaster Major, present to be a Eurosceptic low tax at hear and then abandon ship Cameron and now the disingenuous, incompetent Brexit means sweet FA May. Plus Philip (tax to death)Hammond giving us the highest taxes for nearly 50 years combined with fairly appalling public services too.

  20. Hooe
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I have a sneaking feeling that Raab is trying to con us, the alternative is he intellectually not up to the job and incompetent.

    Raab has let his department put out 70 scare stories to frighten the public to remain in and accept Chequers national betrayal sell out, he has to support this as well or resign. Strikes me Raab is putting career before national interest or electoral democracy. Shame really as Liddington undermined him last week and he is there in name only. We know that to be the case from the memo from No.ten when he took office!

    Come on JR call a spade a spade. Raab is on side to sell out the country.

  21. agricola
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    This talk and numerous other bits of what if speculation in the media and in one on one conversations with friends all feeds on a lack of knowledge as to what is really going on. The greater the vacuum the greater the speculation. I am beginning to find it boring. No doubt when May clarifies every dot and comma I will have an opinion. Until then I fly to the UK tomorrow and hope to make a judgement on it’s preparedness to re-enter the real world rather than the one designed for politicians.

  22. Steve
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    BBC online news is making much of this, and as expected with a heavy remain bias.

  23. ian
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Mr Raab could ask Ireland to reroot all of it lorry traffic direct to France instead of coming through Wales and England to get to Dover to go on to France, save on a lot of pollution and damage to the UK road which they are not paying for, would make more room at the port of Dover for French hold-ups if any or maybe he could think about buying a port in France.

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    What spell does Mrs May cast over these so-called Brexiteers? She clearly gave Raab sight of the script she and the EU are enacting in this disgraceful charade. If she is allowed to betray the country, as she seems determined to do, the limited trust in politicians will evaporate and the future of our democracy will be imperilled. Can no one stop this madness?

  25. Ron Olden
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    However important the French Dutch and Belgian Ports are to the UK, they’re competing with each other for our business.

    Who are the UK ports competing with for Trade coming to and away from us or, to and from Ireland via us?

    However important Calais is to the UK it’s nowhere near as important as the UKs West Coast ports are to the Republic of Ireland

    And Ireland’s exports and imports to and from the continent, still have to come and go via the same routes as ours via us.

    Is the EU going to cut off and isolate one of its own member states?

    If there was any truth in all this mumbo jumbo the Ferry Companies would be panicking and the Share price of the Channel Tunnel operator would be plummeting.

    In fact the Share price of the latter us well above what it was before the Brexit vote.

  26. Norman
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    My ‘take’ on this, is that Mr Raab was being honest in a particular context, and was then quoted completely OUT of context. Honesty is OK with me, even a little naivety – but guile and deception, no thank you! In these increasingly fevered days, we have to interpret all media comment in light of this. Their priority isn’t sincerity or truth, but to grab headlines. The goal of the wise should be to counter their game, without sacrificing integrity. But who is perfect?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink


      He was not being taken out of context at all, he actually said “I was not aware as to how Close physically France is to the UK, ”

      Now he may have made a mistake in finding the right words at the time, but those words came out of his mouth.!

      He then went on to say he did not realise how important the Dover Calais route was to trade !
      The exact spoken words of his second comment I cannot remember, given I was so staggered at the first comment.

      Staggering, absolutely staggering.

      He is probably also unaware of how other routes could be enlarged, and how much we have already paid (£ Millions) for fencing in Calais to keep it safe from people smugglers.

      Perhaps he is even unaware that we have a French Passports Checks in Dover or that we have the same in Calais.

      Who knows, what he doesn’t know !

      • Stred
        Posted November 9, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        I can’t imagine Raab or any Remainer MP arriving at Dover and waiting an hour with the toilet across the lorry park, driving into a crowded hold, squeezing out and climbing up to the restaurant to queue for a coffee in a plastic cup with kids running around and then piling out to wait for a hundred cars and lorries to go first while some idiot runs his engine.

  27. ian
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    I mean reroute.

  28. Kentish man
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    John Redwood says If you dont like Calais, you can try other ports. Those other ports will apply the EXACT same rules as Calais. Because they are all in the EU. You cant play one EU state off against another. D Davis doesnt know that, Raab doesnt, Redwood doesnt. The Brexiters are 100% ignorant of the workings of the thing they hate so much!

    • Edward2
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      If they apply the same rules then there will not be any problems.
      The rules are not altering.
      If you export you follow the rules in each market you trade into.
      UK companies export all over the world and find minimal delays at ports of entry.
      I suggest you have never exported goods and the ignorance is all yours.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Kentish Man

      Er before you call people ignorant it would pay you to actually know what you’re talking about .

  29. libertarian
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Another Tory puts career first . Raab is talking cobblers

    Dover is NOT our main trade link. Most trade freight is via container and Dover has limited capacity for containers. Felixstowe, Southampton , Tilbury, Grangemouth , Port of London, & Grimsby are all bigger . There are more than 90 ports in the UK

    Dover is important for lorry based RoRo traffic but in fact last year it was only the ninth biggest by total tonnage, handling 26.2 million tonnes, which is about 6% of the total amount of freight handled at UK ports.

  30. John O'Leary
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    So are the government going to prevent UK haulage trucks boarding the ferries unless they have valid EU authorised certificates confirming their cargo meets EU regulations? That would seem to be a sensible thing to do. Alternatively you could reserve half the RoRo fleet for imports leaving the other half to carry our exports in slo-mo!

    • libertarian
      Posted November 10, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      John O’Leary

      Suggest you research how overseas exports haulage works. Try starting with TIR, CHIEFS & CDS

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